Patrick Shanahan

Following Friday’s resignation of the US Defense Secretary, James Mattis,  President Donald Trump has appointed Patrick Shanahan as the country’s Acting Defense Secretary.

Trump had initially termed Mattis’s departure as a ‘retirement’ but his resignation letter which was full of implied criticism of the president’s foreign policy showed that was not the case.

The 68-year-old Mattis, who had severally hinted at policy differences with Trump before his resignation, had initially offered to stay on the job until February next year.

“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy and previously Boeing. He will be great!” Trump said.

The 56-year-old Shanahan, a former executive at Boeing, joined the Pentagon in July 2017 after he was nominated by President Trump. He was reportedly a vocal supporter of Trump’s plan to establish a sixth branch of the armed forces, the ‘Space Force’.

Originally from Washington, Mr. Shanahan studied Mechanical Engineering and Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the aerospace giants, Boeing in 1986.